The Sun and the Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde

This well-known work by Robert Louis Stevenson is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often called “split personality”, referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder, where within the same body there exists more than one distinct personality. It’s an apt description of News UK’s (previously News Corp) treatment of the SNP in Scotland and England.

Whilst its English edition is faithfully carrying out Murdoch’s demand to attack Miliband and Labour at every opportunity and as a result pours scorn on any support they may get from the SNP in the case of a hung parliament, in Scotland the Scottish Sun tells a different story. “We believe the Nats will fight harder for Scotland’s interests at Westminster, offering a new hope for our country. Nicola (Sturgeon) has been the star of the election campaign north and south of the border” it trumpets. What a contrast to the English edition which rages: “The Tories who alone can prevent a nightmarish Labour government propped up by the saboteurs of the SNP…” What’s more they have dressed the SNP leader in a tartan bikini with her legs wrapped around a wrecking ball.  A clear case of dissociative identity disorder as well as playing the sexist card and wanting to be on the winning side.

While Nicola is upset and angry about her treatment in the English editions, in a radio interview today she had no criticism of the support her party gets from the Scottish Sun. This is because of the long standing relationship between Murdoch and Salmond. As the current issue of Private Eye points out (Tartan Barmy 1May – 14 May 2015 edition):“The Leveson Inquiry revealed that Alex Salmond (then leader of the SNP) held more than two dozen meetings with Murdoch, his son James and their senior henchmen. Salmond had shown a ‘striking’ readiness to lobby UK ministers on behalf of Murdoch’s News Corporation, Leveson said. He was seeking political support from the Scottish Sun at the same time as he was offering to help the Murdoch family drive through its takeover of BSkyB.”

A new leader has not resulted in a change of policies. Murdoch is only too aware of Labour’s manifesto commitment;” to take steps to protect the principle of media plurality so that no media outlet can get too big”, adding: “No media company should have so much power that those who run it believe themselves above the law.” In contrast there is no mention of such proposals in the SNP manifesto (unlike in The Greens). Not a word on media plurality, which would be useful to Murdoch if Labour forms a government which relies on SNP support. So if and when it comes to Miliband actually presenting the legislation needed to cut big media down to size – just what will the SNP do I wonder?

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